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Here’s to the Future of the Labor Movement

AFL-CIO welcome 62 young union members this weekend for the 2012 Young Workers Leadership Summit.

If Julie Garrett wasn’t in her union, she says she would be working a minimum wage job with no benefits, barely able to support her 4-year-old daughter.

Young people need to know what we’re facing…corporations are taking over and workers are losing out. If we didn’t have unions, we’d all be working for minimum wage, or much lower.

Garrett, 35, a member of the Federation of Social Workers (IUE-CWA) Local 81381 in Rochester, N.Y., and an employee in the Monroe County Department of Social Work, is one of 62 young labor leaders who traveled all over the United States to convene at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., for the first Young Worker Leadership Institute this weekend. 

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Striking Caterpillar Workers Ratify 6-Year Contract

Striking workers at a Caterpillar hydraulic parts factory in Joliet, Ill., voted today to ratify a proposed six-year contract, ending a nearly 16-week strike.

The 800 workers, members of Machinists (IAM) Local 851, will receive a $3,100 ratification bonus, well above the $1,000 Caterpillar initially offered. Workers hired after 2005 will receive an automatic 3 percent raise annually for the life of the contract.

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Pesticides Used for Bed Bugs Can Sicken Workers

Photo by Tom Spinker/Flickr

This is a cross-post from Occupational Health Watch, by Barbara Materna, chief of Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health.

With bed bug infestations on the rise, pesticide illness related to bed bug control is an increasing problem. A national study reported illnesses among workers who applied pesticides to treat bed bugs and among hotel and maintenance workers who entered rooms after they were treated.

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D.C. Metro Council: Helping Workers Build Futures

DC Metro Photo

A union construction and building trades career can put workers on the path to the middle class. The Metropolitan Washington [D.C.] Council Community Services Agency's Building Futures pre-apprenticeship construction program can be the first step on that path.

The next course begins in October and applications are due by Sept. 14. Click here for a brochure, or call 202-974-8223 for more information.

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Police Open Fire on Protesting Mine Workers in South Africa

An on-going industrial conflict escalated into tragedy yesterday as police opened fire on a group of protesting workers at the Marikana Mine and surrounding area in Rustenburg, South Africa, about 50 miles from Johannesburg. The platinum mine is owned by U.K.-based Lonmin. The violence has taken 38 lives and injured more than 75 people.

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More Texas Lawmakers Cut Ties with ALEC

Illuistration By Center for Media and Democracysate capitol

Thirteen more Texas legislators, including 10 Republicans, have severed their ties with the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Earlier this year, another dozen Lone Star State lawmakers said goodbye to ALEC. Matt Glazer, executive director of Progress Texas, the group that has helped expose ALEC’s influence in the state legislature, says:

These legislators have shown the courage of their convictions by standing up to a corporate bill factory and declaring their support for the people of Texas above all else. 

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Civil Rights Commission Provides Public Forum to Anti-Immigrant Hate Group

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a field briefing in Birmingham, Ala., on the impact of state anti-immigrant laws, like Arizona’s infamous S.B. 1070 and Alabama’s H.B. 56. The commission describes itself “as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, [whose] mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws.” It came as quite a shock to see groups that are not only vehemently anti-immigrant but have been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center on the witness list, including Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). 

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Federal Judge Blocks Florida's Restrictive Early Voting Law

Federal Judge Blocks Florida's Restrictive Early Voting Law

This from TPM:

A panel of federal judges ruled late Thursday that a Florida law that limits the number of early voting days cannot be implemented in several counties because it
would have an adverse impact on minority turnout.

The early voting restrictions are part of a voter suppression package the Republican-controlled state legislature passed last year. Other provisions included disenfranchising 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who'd been granted the right to vote under Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2008 and shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives. In May, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the provision restricting non-partisan voter registration drives.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Issues Executive Order to Symbolically Punish Aspiring Citizens

Diana and Diana, two DREAMers with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).

Donna Gratehouse, who blogs at Democratic Diva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.

Hundreds of activists gathered at the state Capitol Thursday morning in Phoenix to denounce Gov. Jan Brewer for the appalling executive order she issued on Wednesday, which was the day the Obama administration's Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals went into effect. The federal policy change allows the young people known as "DREAM Act kids" or "DREAMers" to stay in the country and apply for work permits provided they meet certain conditions. An estimated 80,000 Arizonans who were brought into the country illegally as children may be eligible for the program, and many have been excitedly lining up at federal immigration offices around the state to get the forms and instructions. 

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NFL Players Join United Way to Recruit Education Volunteers Across the U.S.

NFLPA members are recruiting education volunteers to read, mentor and tutor local children.

Want to help your favorite NFL player and member of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) fight against school dropout rates in your community?

Pledge to become a reader, tutor or mentor, along with the 30 football players and the United Way initiative.

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